Sarah Palin Endorses Donald Trump

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Tea Party darling Sarah Palin is throwing her support behind Donald Trump, a blow to a surging Ted Cruz with less than two weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses.

The announcement caps off a day of rampant speculation that the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee was set to endorse the Republican presidential front-runner after Trump teased a “major announcement.”

“I am proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for President of the United States of America,” the former Alaska governor said in a statement released Tuesday evening by the real estate magnate’s campaign.

“I am greatly honored to receive Sarah’s endorsement. She is a friend, and a high quality person whom I have great respect for. I am proud to have her support,” Trump also said in the statement.

The two have long been complimentary of one another. Last fall she was floated as a possible energy secretary for Trump. And Palin praised Trump late last year on Fox News, calling him “the best thing to happen to the permanent political class since, oh I guess, the beauty of the Tea Party genuine movement rose up and shined a light on crony capitalism and then pulled the rug right out from under status quo politicians who just kind of embraced that political class.”

Their new alliance comes as the onetime detente between Trump and Cruz, the two top outsider candidates in the crowded race, has come to an end. In last week’s debate, Cruz attacked Trump over his liberal “New York values.” And Cruz’s campaign has been pushing clips of Trump previously stating his support for partial birth abortion and gay marriage. Meanwhile, Trump has been raising doubts about the Canadian-born Republican’s eligibility.

Cruz has surged ahead of Trump in some polls in the Hawkeye State, and the timing of the Palin endorsement seems designed to blunt that momentum. Palin still has a loyal following among conservatives and Tea Party voters, and has visited Iowa many times since her national run and has cultivated relationships in the state. Her endorsement of then-state Sen. Joni Ernst in a crowded 2014 GOP Senate primary was credited with helping lift the now-U.S. senator to victory.

The Texas senator and his campaign had already sought to downplay the impact of a Palin endorsement of Trump on Tuesday.

“I think it [would] be a blow to Sarah Palin, because Sarah Palin has been a champion for the conservative cause. And if she was going to endorse Donald Trump, sadly, she would be endorsing someone who’s held progressive views all their life on the sanctity of life, on marriage, on partial-birth abortion,” Cruz campaign spokesman Rick Tyler said on CNN.

But that only seemed to inflame Palin allies. Her daughter Bristol wrote on the Christian website Patheos, in a blog post titled “Is THIS Why People Don’t like Cruz?” that “after hearing what Cruz is now saying about my mom, in a negative knee-jerk reaction, makes me hope my mom does endorse Trump.”

And Trump’s campaign highlighted Cruz’s own words on the impact a Palin endorsement can have. “I would not be in the United States Senate were it not for Gov. Sarah Palin… She can pick winners,” Cruz previously said of her endorsement in his uphill 2012 Senate primary.

Losing Palin’s support wasn’t the only blow Cruz suffered on Tuesday. Longtime Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad said he would like to see the Texas senator lose, citing his opposition to the Renewable Fuel Standard — important to the state’s ethanol industry.

“Ted Cruz is ahead right now. What we’re trying to do is educate the people in the state of Iowa. He is the biggest opponent of renewable fuels. He actually introduced a bill in 2013 to immediately eliminate the Renewable Fuel Standard. He’s heavily financed by Big Oil. So we think once Iowans realize that fact, they might find other things attractive but he could be very damaging to our state,” Branstad said at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit Tuesday, according to the Des Moines Register.

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Walmart is closing hundreds of stores and laying off thousands of employees

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A Walmart employee in Walpole, Massachusetts.

Walmart is closing 269 stores and laying off thousands of employees.

The move will affect more than 16,000 employees, including 10,000 in the US.

The closings include 154 locations in the US — 102 of which are the company’s smallest stores, called Walmart Express, which have been in pilot since 2011.

Walmart is closing the stores to shift resources to Walmart’s Supercenters and smaller-format Neighborhood Market stores.

Walmart will also shut down 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 Supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount centers, and four Sam’s Clubs.

The company said it would try to place laid-off employees at other Walmart stores.

Employees who aren’t hired by nearby locations will get 60 days of pay and severance if eligible, as well as résumé and interview skills training, the company said.

“The decision to close stores is difficult and we care about the associates who will be impacted,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement. “We invested considerable time assessing our stores and clubs and don’t take this lightly. We are supporting those impacted with extra pay and support, and we will take all appropriate steps to ensure they are treated well.”

Walmart hasn’t yet released a list of the locations that will be closing. The company will provide that information at about noon Friday. Walmart has more than 11,000 stores worldwide, including 4,655 stores in the US.

The retailer said it still planned to open more than 100 US stores in the next year, including 50 to 60 Supercenters, 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets, and seven to 10 Sam’s Club locations. Internationally, Walmart plans to open 200 to 240 stores within the next year.

Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder and More Celebrate Natalie Cole at Her Funeral

Natalie Cole was remembered and celebrated by fellow musicians Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, among others, at her funeral on Monday, January 11. The “This Will Be (an Everlasting Love)” singer was celebrated with a nearly three-hour service at West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles.

As previously reported, the late singer, who was the daughter of the famed Nat King Cole, died at the age of 65 on New Year’s Eve from pulmonary arterial hypertension, which led to heart failure induced by lung disease.

Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, David Foster, Angela Bassett, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Freddy Cole were among the hundreds of attendees who joined together at the church to say goodbye to the Grammy-winning artist.

“We must continue the spirit and kindness that this woman gave the world,” Wonder told the crowd, according to the Associated Press. “She left this country where people are so divided. We speak of love but we don’t do love. We’ve got a lot of work to do, Natalie, and we will do it in the spirit of you.”

Richie also spoke at the funeral, telling the crowd: “I will always remember her laughter, her humor, her silliness, that voice and more importantly her friendship. There were many moments she was down and she picked me up.”

Following the service, Cole was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

The Men’s Cancer Network Presents The Prostate Health Enlightenment Session

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From our friend Freddie Muse, Jr.: Men are invited to join us for a Prostate Health Enlightenment Session at the Ladera Senior Center, This is an informative session with informative videos for all men 35 and older with or with-out Prostate issues, get this message guys and understand that this is a REAL PROBLEM TODAY for us, join us to learn more on Wednesday January 13th 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. see you there and please bring a friend.

Learn more about their work at http://www.themenscancernetwork.com/

SPMG Media Public Relations

http://www.spmgmedia.net

Taste the Love! Strawberry Shortcake M&M’s Are Here for Valentine’s Day

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Forget romantic, candlelit dinners, bouquets of roses and pink stuffed animals. Everyone knows that Valentine’s Day is really all about the candy.

Luckily, M&M’s understands the importance of surrounding oneself with sweets on February 14.

White Strawberry Shortcake — which features holiday-appropriate white, pink and cream colored shells and promises a “light, Starburst-like Strawberry sweetness,” according to The Impulsive Buy — is technically meant to be one of the company’s limited-edition Easter flavors, but it already available on shelves at Targets everywhere.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one experiencing an overwhelming feeling of love for M&M’s right now.

White Strawberry Shortcake is the latest in a long line of seasonal flavors that M&M’s has released, including white peppermintpecan pie, and the queen of fall foods pumpkin spice latte.

SPMG Media Public Relations

http://www.spmgmedia.net

Lamar Odom Released From Hospital, Continues Recovery in Private Rehabilitation Facility

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Former NBA star Lamar Odom has been released from the hospital.

In a statement issued Friday, Odom’s maternal aunt, JaNean Mercer, announced Odom’s “transition to the next stage of his miraculous recovery at a new facility.”

“Lamar continues to make remarkable strides,” said Mercer, “and we are asking that you continue to respect our privacy. Again we THANK ALL OF YOU GREATLY, your support has been paramount in helping to uplift us during these past few difficult months.”

Odom was released from the hospital earlier this week, family spokeswoman Alvina Alston said Friday, The Associated Press reported.

Odom, 36, was rushed to a Nevada hospital this past October after he was found unconscious at a legal brothel. Three days later, he opened his eyes, according to friends and family, and soon after, he was moved to a facility in Los Angeles.

His estranged wife, Khloé Kardashian, remained by his side throughout the ordeal.

“[Lamar’s] doing amazing and I’m so proud of the strength that he has to fight this battle,” Kardashian said on Wednesday. “Because it’s not my story to tell, I try to respect that, and I want him to be able to tell that story. I’m just there to support and care for him.”

Kayna Whitworth and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

CHP Reports No Traffic-Related Deaths For New Year’s Holiday and 130 DUIs

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The California Highway Patrol today reported no traffic-related deaths on Los Angeles County highways during the first 36 hours of this year’s New Year’s holiday.

The reporting period started at 6:01 p.m. on Thursday and ended at 6 a.m. today.

Two people were killed during the same period last year on L.A. County highways, according to the CHP.

Statewide, however, 12 people were killed this year, while nine died on California highways during the same time frame a year ago.

CHP officers arrested 130 people for suspicion of driving under the influence on L.A. County highways, while 104 were arrested last year during that same time period, according to the CHP.

Statewide, 566 people were arrested for suspected drunk driving, compared with 510 during the same period last year.

Natalie Cole Dead At 65; ‘This Will Be’ Singer Cause Of Death Reportedly Congestive Heart Failure

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“This Will Be” singer Natalie Cole is dead at the age of 65. Cole reportedly died from congestive heart failure at a Los Angeles hospital.

The singer, songwriter, who is best known for her songs “Unforgettable,” and “Inseparable,” is the daughter of the late jazz singer Nat King Cole and singer Maria Hawkins Cole. She was recently struggling with health issues which resulted in her canceling some tours. TMZbroke the news of her death on Friday.

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